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WFCR gets a new studio

Date: 1/19/2009

By G. Michael Dobbs

Managing Editor

SPRINGFIELD WFCR, the National Public Radio station for Western Massachusetts, will have a greater presence in Hampden County with the addition of a new studio complex in Springfield, according to Martin Miller, the station's general manager.

The new facility, located on the second floor of WGBY's broadcasting center on Hampden Street, was officially opened on Wednesday.

The new radio complex has an office area for reporters, a production and control room studio and another studio designed for talks shows. Miller told Reminder Publications that one reporter will be stationed in Springfield in a month and by this summer the station will be hiring another reporter for the Springfield bureau as well as looking for an intern.

The facility features state of the art digital broadcast equipment as well as acoustically designed doors, windows, a "floating floor" and ceiling treatments to reduce noise.

The new studio is part of a $4.2 million capital campaign, he said, that includes the Springfield studios, a renovation of WFCR's studios at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and the underwriting of new programming.

The renovation of the UMass studios had to be done in phases, he explained, in order to avoid interrupting the station's broadcast schedule.

The two studios are connected so that a reporter in one could interview someone on the air located in the other, he added.

Originally he said the station's plan was to use the funding to build one new building at UMass. The original idea was modified and, Miller said, "By not doing the [new] building the net result was positive."

He anticipated there would be additional collaborations between WFCR and WGBY, which have done reporting and educational projects in the past.